VERTICAL BALANCE – WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT? BY DR KARIN LEIBBRANDT
Vertical balance is important for many reasons, but these are the most important ones:
- A horse out of vertical balance has more weight on one of his front legs. In the short tun this is not such a big problem but after training your horse for several years with too much weight on one of his front legs, this will cause injuries.
- A horse out of vertical balance to the left will lower and rotate the withers. The right hind leg will push the left shoulder/ withers forward and downward. This causes the horse to fall on his forehand and the thoracic spine (withers and part of the back where the rider is sitting) will drop and hollow. The lumbar area needs to compensate and has to flex/ round. This way the horse is overloading the back, the lower neck and the pelvis.
- A horse out of vertical balance has a crooked spine and his body is not aligned with the line of travel. The horse needs to compensate for the imbalance and will tighten his muscles to do so. This will cause injuries in the long term and the horse will not move to its full potential since he is compensating and using a lot of energy for these compensations.
The pictures above show a horse hollow back vs horse rounding back. A horse out of vertical balance cannot round the back properly.
To find out more about compassionate training techniques and all the biomechanics behind a balanced horse, please visit www.equitopia.com for a video course and book on this subject. This will provide you with all the details you need to change your horse’s life and let him experience comfort and confidence during the training. In the past 17 years that I’ve been training horses and riders I could always tell when a combination had found it’s balance – the snorting of the horse, the effortlessly moving horse and the smile on the face of the rider!